A New Take On Life

Pink, yellow, and teal colors with the word "Summer" over it, and a lemon in along the right side for fun encouragement to break the cycle of addiction.

21/90: Focus, Commit, Repeat

“Sow a thought, and you reap and act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” – John Paul Caponigro

Addiction to anything, whether a substance or a behavior is most often developed due to habitual behavior. When I think about the act of smoking nicotine for example, it is not only a physically addictive thing but there is also a habitual pattern that goes with it that becomes just as addictive as the actual nicotine. I have counseled many people whose stories with alcohol start out the same way; they began drinking one or two nights after work to wind down and then one or two nights became three or four nights and then eventually, they find themselves drinking almost every day. Once the recognition sets in that this has happened people will often make some sort of bargain or rule with themselves that they can only drink on the weekends and that works for a little while, until Thursday begins to be part of the weekend, and very quickly the habit of daily or nightly drinking takes back over. This is how the addictive process starts for many people.

For anyone going through the recovery process, whether it be substances, alcohol, or any form of mental health issues, it is important to not only pay attention to healing your mind, but to also give focus and effort to your physical and spiritual health. You cannot take care of one and ignore the others. No other words, a holistic healing approach is the best way to attain a long-lasting recovery. Creating healthy habits is proven to be one of the most effective ways to look out for your mind, body, and soul post-addiction.

When my clients begin their recovery journey, I will often hear them say things like, “I don’t know how I am going to do this, how am I going to stop using/drinking?” and my answer is, the same way you started! Since a habit is formed by doing something repeatedly, it eventually makes everything effortless and “automatic.” The same formula that was used to become addicted can be the same formula used to become “un” addicted. You take that habit you have created that is unhealthy and you replace it with one that is! The 21/90 rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. In some recovery circles you will hear the advice to do “90 in 90”, that means doing 90 meetings in 90 days, with the thought process that if you can succeed doing this, you will create a lifestyle. If you can commit yourself to a goal for 21 days, it will become a habit. If you can commit yourself to that goal for 90 days, you will find that you’ve created a whole new lifestyle.

21/90: Set your goal. Decide what you want to accomplish or change, write it down in your planner, on your laptop, or on a piece of paper taped to your mirror. Use brightly colored sticky notes or note cards so that they catch your attention. Don’t worry about it being “just right” or “perfect” because there is no such thing first, but second because it’s more important that you just start than what it looks like.

21/90: Make a plan. Plan your steps. You cannot get from the bottom step of the staircase to the top step in one step, you must do the steps in between (even if you take two steps at a time like my long-legged son) so you must plan for those in between steps, often called objectives. If your goal is being more active, you might decide a few activities that represent being active, or call someone you know who is an active person and ask to join them. Setting times and dates are helpful in keeping you accountable and to help build habits. Make sure that you share your plans and goals with people who will speak life to
them and will motivate you, this helps you stay on track.

21/90: Focus. Keep it focused, you cannot do ALL THE THINGS. Focus on building one small habit at a time and the rest will follow.

21/90: Commit. To stay committed to your goal is the hardest part. But if you want to build a habit and eventually change your lifestyle, you must be committed. The 21/90 rule only works if you are consistent to your plan and in consequence. If you think you will have issues with commitment, set boundaries. For example, if you need to take a day off, make sure it is just a day and not two.

21/90: Repeat. Rinse and repeat! The 21/90 rule can be used over and over again to achieve most any goal, build a habit and change your lifestyle. Start small but think big!

Why do I do what I don’t want to do? Replace Deadly Vices with Life-Giving Virtues
by Jonathan “JP” Pokluda

We live in an upside-down culture. We wink at our vices as coping strategies while restricting our virtues to our online personas, where they won’t interfere with our real lives. And we wonder why we feel empty, exhausted, and directionless. But why do we do things that we know are harmful for us? Jonathan “JP” Pokluda wants you to know there’s a better, more fulfilling way to live, and it doesn’t involve looking inside yourself for the answers–because that’s not where you’ll find them. With his signature wit and wisdom, he explains, unpacks, and expands on the age-old virtues we’re told to pursue in Scripture: humility, forgiveness, generosity, diligence, self-control, authenticity, rest, and optimism. Far from being restrictive, these God-given goals for living free us to love and live as we wish we would.

Practicing virtues is not just something you do–it’s something done in you, slowly but surely transforming you into the person you were meant to be all along. Whether you’re 18 or 80, it’s never too late to redefine what’s important to you and reclaim a life of virtue.

Jessica Pottorff, MS, MA, T-LMHC, CADC

Woman with red hair wearing black dress with white polka-dots. She is wearing red glasses with white polka dots and leaning up against a brick wall smiling.

Jessica holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling of Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders as well as a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Jessica is currently accepting new patients; please use the contact form if you would like to schedule a session with her.

Jessica is passionate about working through codependency issues, guilt and shame, and spiritual issues and allows God and Scripture to empower clients to see their potential and to find their identity in Christ. Jessica is authentic and builds rapport quickly with her clients by being personable, compassionate, and Christ-centered. She has a passion to help people develop a deeper relationship with God as they pursue wholeness in all areas of their lives.